A search for Chunky A – the man, the myth, the rapping legend
“My name is Chunkton Arthur Hall, baby.”
For a few brief months during my freshman year of high school the rapper Chunky A a.k.a., Dr. Chunkenstein a.k.a., Chunk in the Trunk was all the rage. Not too long ago I was digging through some old cassettes and along with my copy of the Rocky IV Motion Picture Soundtrack and Spanish Fly by Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam I found my copy of Chunky A’s Large and in Charge. Now, if you’re like me (and I can’t imagine you’d have kept this window open this long if you’re not), you loved you some All I Wanna Do Is Make Chunk To You. I stopped listening to I’m Your Chunky Tonight after that first album because I got all caught up in Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, Another Bad Creation, and Father MC. But when I found this old cassette it sparked all sorts of memories: weekend nights, 14 years old, drinking Old Crow on country dirt roads. I wanted to – no – had to know where Natural SeChunktion disappeared to.
“Shut up! I know what he was listening to. He was listening to me.
Everybody listening to me ‘cause I’m large and in charge.”
It’s been fifteen years since I’ve listened to Shiny Chunky People and being enamored with all things internet-ional I decided to google “Chunky A” to begin my search. I figured with what 15+ years in the game he’d be rolling with P. Diddy, producing Jay Z. remixes, and dropping pimpin’ tips to Big Boi. Well, you could color me 256 shades of surprised when my google search turned up next to nothing on this rap innovator. I did find this biography by Wade Kergan over at allmusic.com that audaciously claims ChunkEMF and Arsenio Hall are one and the same:
Once upon a time in the early ’90s, Arsenio Hall was an important supporter of rap. He had a hit talk show that featured live performances from some of hip-hop’s finest, including De la Soul, Leaders of the New School, and, of course, MC Hammer. All of which was inspiration for Chunky A, Hall‘s portly rapping alter ego. Chunky A released one album, Large and in Charge, in 1991. Met with the painful silence that every comedian fears, Chunky A quickly faded, followed shortly thereafter by the career of Arsenio Hall.
Now I found that really hard to believe. With all due respect, Mr. Kergan, I watched the Arsenio Hall show regularly and saw with my own two eyes the episode where Chunkie’s Got A Gun appeared as musical guest. I suggest you go back to J-school, sir, and learn to fact check. Or are you one of those new media types who doesn’t much care truth and only looks to spread hearsay? To prove my point check out wikipedia’s entry on Arsenio Hall (searched 9/17/04):
Arsenio Hall (born February 12, 1955) is an African American entertainer who hosted his own talk show.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio to a Baptist minister, Arsenio was a magician as child. He went to Ohio University before transferring to Kent State University. In 1987 he costarred in the comedy film Coming to America with Eddie Murphy. Then in 1989 he began hosting The Arsenio Hall Show, which lasted until 1994. His show was known for the audience making animal-like “Whoop Whoop Whoop” noises. Since The Arsenio Hall Show ended, Hall makes only infrequent appearances on television.
Do you see anything about Mr. Hall (being) Chunkson Phillips? Me neither. The search continued.
“I got more dope funk then (sic) a pay phone got dimes.”
Understandably disappointed by allmusic’s scant and glossed-over bio (I generally love their informative site), I certainly was pleased to find this snippet of conversation going on over at 80sxchange.com:
I can’t remember if this is exactly 80’s at the very least it would be around 90. I don’t remember how I got Chunky A’s cassette, but I loved it. The main song that stands out is “girlfriend’s got stank breath, I aint lyin’, girlfriend’s got stank breath I almost started cryin”. Does anybody else remember him?
It came out in 1989 🙂 My favorite track is “Sorry”. The video was a hoot! The biggest hit off the album was “OWWWW” making fun of Cameo.
kangaroos and djdaffy1227 are definitely on my wavelength here. “Stank Breath” should be taught to children in grade school. But, djdaffy1227 (if that is indeed your real name) I have to disagree with your assessment of Chunk Bunny and the Mastermixers smash hit “OWWWW!”. Why would he make fun of Cameo? Because their song “Word Up” got turned into a Cherry Coke commercial? I think not. Let’s read the lyrics to “OWWWW!” and do a close read, shall we?
I’ve had many Girlies
In my life and time
Women of all kind
Sister named Velda
Snow named Gidget
I even got busy
With a cute little midget
Nothing made my heart sing
Nothing seemed to last
The future looked dim
Just like the past
But surprise from the sky
Came a dream called you
No one’s ever rocked me
Like the way that you do
It hurts so good
When you do what you do
You’re the end of the line
I wanna spend my life with you
And even Brooke Shields
Don’t come close to you
The real deal
A chocolate ton of fun
Every woman I need
All wrapped up in one
More cushion for the pushin’
I hope I can hang
Let’s spread cake on yo’ body
And we’ll do the wild thang
The way I read it, that particular song is all about making fun of fat people not, as djdaffy1227 asserts, the band Cameo. Making fun of fat people may seem incredibly crass but, it’s OK,you see, because Mellow Chunk Ace himself was a two-ton-o-fun mackadocious playa.
Nevertheless, I was encouraged that King of Chunkful Thinking fans were alive and on line. I knew if I kept playing detective long enough, I’d be sure to come up with some solid leads as to where he was now pimpin’.
“Five foot eleven, a classic brick gluteus, or big ghetto booty for those of you new to this.”
The MTV special on the 25 lamest videos of all time aired again recently, and while there’s no question most of those featured deserve censure, I found it amusing that the network which used to legitmately champion the banner of “Music Television” so readily manages to turn on the bands that helped make it what it is today.
There’s no question that our children need to be sheltered from clips like “Ice Ice Baby” and “The Macarena,” but where would MTV be without these videos? I remember watching the network in the Dark Ages, when the bread and butter of the station seemed to be concert footage of April Wine and endless replays of Rush’s “Red Barcheta.” Without crap like Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” and “Seventeen” by Winger, MTV wouldn’t have made it out of the ’80s.
Janeane Garofalo, one of the hosts, brought this up when Vanilla Ice himself, Robbie Van Winkle, made an appearance to permanently retire “Ice Ice Baby” (a scene which is now the stuff of legend). MTV never had a problem with exploting a burgeoning musical trend – whether it was new wave, hair metal, or grunge – and then casting it aside when the next new thing came along. Stay tuned for the next installment of “25 Lame” to feature Sum 41 and the Dashboard Confessionals.
And as appropriate as it might have been to include Arsenio Hall and Don Johnson (“Awww” by “Chunky A” and “Heartbeat” had the honor of coming in at #s 2 and 1, respectively), selecting videos by has-been artists is pretty weak. I guess setting aside a couple slots for N’Sync or Jewel would’ve been hitting too close to home.
WHAT?! Chunki Vanilli made one of the 25 lamest videos of all time according to MTV? “Bullshit,” I cry! Everyone knows that all of the lamest videos every played on MTV were made by Hall and Oates.
“I’m the next Michael Jackson and you watchin’ soap operas.”
More than a little miffed at MTV’s Benedict-Arnold-like actions (oh, Chunky Howser, M.D….wherefore art thou to right this grievous wrong that hast been committed against thee?), I continued my search.
Whew! The next bit of info I found made me smile! Jesus himself, over at bootysmack.com, spitting out some U-Can’t-Chunk-This rhymes! (Unfortunately Jesus had fallen for that old Arsenio Hall=Chunky A line. Fight the Power, Jesus! )
3 jesus ..::..
April 9, 2001
wow. how can you have a best of list without including the great CHUNKY A. Thats right my friends. Chunky A. This is Arsenio Hall as a rapper. amazing stuff. I reccomend checking out the song entitled “Dipstick.” here are some sample lyrics:
Let me check your oil… With my diiipstick!
I once was lost but with you I’m found
Yo’ stupid dope frame, onion so round
I’d be dead if good looks could kill
And what I love most is your weave looks so real
I’m gonna make your body talk when I hit your switch
Make you scream, “Chunky, I’m yo’ bitch!”
Don’t post on me, you belong on my tip
I’m the Chunk
.. Meet my dipstick!
I actually considered Chunky A for my list, but in the end, I decided that the masses needed to know about rock, roll, and McDonald’s instead.
Maybe in my next installment…
“You got diarrhea at the mouth and you getting on my damn nerves and you still lazy! Ho.”
Now the Internet, this ingenious communicative tool, has so many applications and features that we’re just beginning to learn to use. And until we do, we’ll continue to use the Internet for porn and conspiracy-theorizing. And while I didn’t find any Chunky-Cold-Medina-flavored porn, I did find this complex, conspiratorial chain of argument posted by Robert over at dailyping.com:
DATE: Friday March 30, 2001 — 1:06:20PM
I just remembered that the Chunky A track “Dope, the Big Lie” is
in length. Coincidence? You tell me.
That’s right, kids, you heard it from Robert first. Chunkty Chump sticks it to the Man by subliminally using pro-drug song lengths in his anti-drug songs. I think Robert’s a bit of a punk, however, for this post. I mean, he’s obviously Chunk N’ Pepa’s biggest fan (who else but the biggest fan could have memorized the lengths of Chunk’s songs and spontaneously “just remember” those song lengths?) so why would Robert deliberately induce the wrath of his idol by firing up the Internet rumor mill? We need the entire story of your fall from Chunk & Chunk Music Factory’s grace, Robert, before we buy into this pro-drug madness.
Robert’s post, though, did spark a memory for me; a memory I hoped I could use in my search for Chunky Me Badd. That memory was, of course, of Wil Wheaton. Yes, folks, Internet übermensch Wil Wheaton did a spot of guest rapping on the Chunknotronic track to which Robert referred, “Dope, the Big Lie”.
“My devastating repartee burns up stages.”
So what would happen if I googled Wil Wheaton and Chunky A in the same query? I personally expected google’s search algorithms to implode or, worse yet, to return some sort of eerie hit list of early 90s’ wonderment (American Gladiators, Camp Candy, Saved by the Bell, In Living Color, Hangin’ with Hollywood, and Roxette). But that’s not at all what happened. Instead of crashing, Google reliably returned a legitimate hit a link to that illumined purveyor of fake news, The Onion. Lucky for me, the link was specifically to The Onion’s A/V Club, which is real news, interviews, and reviews, and wherein this interview with Wil Wheaton told me everything I needed to know about what happened to America’s favorite early ‘90s rapper, ChunKOTB:
O: The Internet Movie Database says that you dropped some science on “Dope, The Big Lie,” from the Chunky A album. How did you hook up with Chunky A, and what has he been up to since then?
WW: As far as I know, Chunky A retired to
. Sadly, he went into a diabetic coma, and he actually lives on a cargo plane that never lands for more than 25 minutes to refuel. He’s really a man without a country, which is unfortunate. Of course, Chunky A’s good friend Arsenio Hall hooked me up with that whole situation. At the time,
was doing The Arsenio Hall Show, and Star Trek was owned by
, so they had me do promotional things with Arsenio Hall, and they put me on the Chunky A album. It’s funny, because while I’ve never used drugsit’s not my thingI’ve always been opposed to the war on drugs and the drug laws. They’re terrible, and they don’t work. I’ve always favored treatment and decriminalization over the way our country does things now. It’s funny to me that I’m on this album where I’m like, “Drugs are bad, yo!” I don’t remember what I said.
O: You don’t have the lyrics to “Dope, The Big Lie” memorized?
WW: No, no, I don’t. I wrote them on my hand with a Sharpie and they all kind of ran together. Everybody thinks I’m scatting, when I’m really just trying to read them off my hand.
[For the record, Wil, your dope rhymes on Chunky Compares 2 U’s record are as follows: “Hi, this is Wil Wheaton of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Just say, “No.” Avoid the temptation.” jpp]
O: What is Chunky A like?
WW: He’s a very private person. He’s really not what you’d expect. You go over and see him and expect him to be kind of larger than life, literally, and he’s not. Remember the guy Hambone, who lived in his house, and he hadn’t been outside in a long time because he couldn’t move out of his bed because he was so large? He was sort of like the Slurm-mother monster from Futurama. Chunky A was headed in that direction. We all had an intervention where we tried to help him out. But unless you’re willing to help yourself, those around you can only do so much. He was large of heart and large of waist, and he was always willing to finish whatever was on your plate.
Looks like Fine Young Chunkibals got too chunky for his own damned good.
But, Chunky Gill, let me tell you it’s high time for a reunion tour and record. Haven’t you heard? Everyone in America is obese now! And if you want to get skinny, Unchunky Bop, all you have to do is give up carbohydrates! It really is that simple. So, on behalf of America,and lovers of rap music everywhere, I beseech you to turn off your television, get off your couch, switch to Atkins, and get back in the rap game (because let’s face it, compared to 15 years ago, popular rap is in shambles).